Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I can't believe it's November!

Really, where has this year gone? I'm not sure exactly, but it sure has flown by!

This month we are focusing on a lot of trips to Congaree National Park. They have a ton of children's programs and they are all free! Rock on! I love free stuff! So, we will be getting out into the fresh air a lot this month and learning about animal adaptations, doing a tree trek, and a ton of things I can't seem to dig out of my brain right at the moment!

On Halloween (CG was Darth Vadar this year) we went to a fall festival with games and trunk or treating. Oh, and a hay ride too! It was really fun. CG is already to go back next year - he says he wants to be Anikan Skywalker. Correct me if I'm wrong here, but aren't they the same person? Yeah, I thought so!

After trunk or treating, CG and GM went to the Scout O Ween. They had a good time and their group won 2nd place for something. I didn't really get all the details - but good on them!

My inner reading dork is out in full force. I have so many books checked out from the library I don't see any possible way for me to finish them! I get there though and I just can't seem to stop myself from grabbing books! I wonder if there is a 12 step group for compulsive library book borrowing???

We had my youngest niece AP here for about five days while her parents went on a cruise. She is six months old and oh my! I forgot how much work a baby is! CG and I had a wonderful time with her though and I caught up on my sleep after she left!

Our scout pack is going camping this weekend. Well, just Saturday night. We camped with the scouts in April and it was a lot of fun. This is a new pack, so hopefully it will be just as great or maybe even better! It is supposed to get cold at night, so the weather is going to be much different from the spring but a good time should be had by all.

A note about camping. I always think of myself as a trailer camper. But whenever we get out there in the tent I always have a good time. Maybe it's because we have cots, a coffee pot, a heater, fans, a camp kitchen, and a really big tent! We definitely don't 'rough it' except for the fact that we're in a tent. We most definitely need to do more camping though. Maybe next year....

We have finally, blessedly, found our niche in the world of homeschooling! That was a long, hard, expensive road but now I feel much better and CG is happy. Don't get me wrong, he still gives me crap about doing school work - but he's still happier. So, here is what we are using: Math - Horizons; Language Arts, Science, and History/Geography - Lifepacs, Reading is still on level with Book Adventure Quizzes, PE is gymnastics and CORE Classes, and he also takes a handwriting class at CORE twice a week. This has really helped his cursive a lot! For art there are a lot of projects that we have to do for Cub Scouts this year and I am using those. I know I need to find a "real" art program. We'll see what crosses our path. The best part is I'm so much more relaxed now that we've found what works for us. I love it!

And that, my dears, is the update for now.....




Saturday, October 17, 2009

About Books

I love the library. Honestly, I really do. It is, and always has been one of my most favorite places in the world. No matter where we go, even when I was in Iraq, I found the library. There's just something about books...

I've been reading a lot lately. After I completed the Twilight series, I was looking for other books and came across The Southern Vampire Chronicles by Charlaine Harris. I've heard that the HBO series True Blood is based on these books. They are extremely well written and I've enjoyed the ones I've read so far. As with the Twilight books, there are some of these that I've not been able to get from the library. I buy them, read them, loan them to a friend of mine, and then donate them to the library. I probably should keep them, but I honestly don't see the point. Why keep something I'm probably not going to read again when I can give it to the library and a lot of people can enjoy it?

Charlaine Harris just doesn't write the "True Blood" books, as they are now known. She writes a lot of other series, and I've dabbled in almost all of them. They grab you right from the beginning and hold on til the very end. If you're looking for some try "An Ice Cold Grave" or "Dead Over Heels". I enjoyed both very much.

Another author I've happened upon as of late is G.A. McKevett. She writes the Savannah Reid series. These are also mystery books (she's a PI) and I find them entertaining. She's outspoken - not unlike myself!

No worries, I'm not turning my mind into complete mush (even though I think this is impossible if you're reading)! I recently finished "The Kite Runner". Apparently this was made into a move a couple years ago. I never saw the movie (not a huge movie watcher) but I can say this - that book was excellent! The other day when I was in Walden Books getting my 'not available at the library' books, I saw there was another book there by the same author. I'm going to have to see if I can get that one - if it's as well written as "The Kite Runner" then it will be worth the read indeed!

My son is almost a hopeless cause about reading. He doesn't particularly enjoy it, but I make him read every day anyway. He recently finished "How to Eat Fried Worms", which he says was "OK". I loved that book when I was young. Today I gave him another of my childhood favorites - "Where the Wild Things Are". We finally found a book he really loves! Since he is not a movie person either we won't be seeing the movie, but I'm happier that he enjoys the book anyway.

The seasons have turned here in the south. Well, as much as they can anyway! It's no longer warm and sunny every day so fall must be here! I loved fall when we lived in Spokane - watching the leaves change was awesome. It's just not the same here....

We are planning on finishing this month with a flurry of activities. We are going on a owl prowl again this year, CG and I will be visiting the local museum for a Cub Scout requirement (and school too of course!), and finally there is a 'Scoutoween' which is effectively a Cub Scout lock in. My dearest husband gets to hang out for that night of mayhem! We also still have CORE and gymnastics and we will be getting my 6 month old niece for about a week! We are super excited about having a baby in the house again!

Until next time......

Monday, September 7, 2009

So Random

The other day I was taking a bath.  I rarely take baths - I shower.  I find I usually don't have the time or patience to just lounge in the bathtub and do nothing.  It's just the way I am I guess, but I decided to give it shot anyway.  So, I filled my tub with bubbles (Vanilla), grabbed my book (Death by Chocolate), made myself a little pillow out of towel, and decided to relax away.  I didn't do any reading, but I did do a lot of thinking.  Random thoughts about life and stuff - you get the picture.

Random thought #1 - Grammatically speaking y'all is a contraction.  For those of you who don't use the word it's a combination of 'you' and 'all' and most people write it "ya'll".  I may not know a lot about grammar (which is why I rely heavily on my teachers manual during class!) but I do know contractions.  The apostrophe takes the place of dropped letters: did not becomes didn't, can not becomes can't - you get the picture here.  So please quit writing y'all as ya'll!  The 'ou' in you is dropped - put the dang apostrophe where it belongs!  For those of you who don't use this contraction as an every day word never mind.

Random thought #2 - Why is it so hard for people to understand that former Catholics need a church with structure?  We like to stand, sit, and sing at the appointed time whether we are attending our home church or church in another city.  Please don't ask us to try your Baptist, Assembly of God, or Non-Denominational Church.  I have nothing against those churches - except I feel all topsy-turvy and disjointed in them.  Instead, how 'bout you ask me to attend your Lutheran or Methodist Church.  I'd feel a heck of a lot more comfortable there.  Oh, and for the record - I've attended all the above churches with the exception of Methodist so I pretty much know how I feel about this subject.  My mom was Catholic and my dad Methodist and my son was baptized in Lutheran Church, so you're out of luck if you think you're teaching this old dog some new tricks.

Random thought #3 - A dear friend of mine recently stated that she was tired of people complaining and not having any solutions to offer up.  Honestly, I'm not 100% sure what she was referring to since she posted it on Facebook and didn't specify exactly what had pushed her over the edge.  But I understand the point she's trying to make, that was what I used to tell my young airmen when I was in the Air Force - bring me your complaint and a solution or don't bring me anything at all.  When I read her post my first thought was "Obama".  Here's my theory about the current President and all his big plans - crap.  Do I have a solution?  Naw, not really.  America spoke and we are stuck for the next four years (only four I hope).  This war is lost.  All I can do is keep fighting the small battles that mean a lot to me, like keeping my right to homeschool.  After all, this is America, we can't stage a military coup (after all the President is the Commander in Chief) and besides we wouldn't - it's just not how we roll.  All we can really do is keep track of our Congressmen, Senators, and President and make the changes we deem fit at the next election.  Or try - at least.  I understand the whole "change" attitude that got Obama elected.  This country did and does still need some decent changes and some change can be good.  The past is filled with great men who could speak well enough of change to sway entire countries (and other countries too!).  But change isn't always for the best - some changes can take away our very rights.  Be careful what you wish for is all I'm saying here.  Oh and the grass isn't always greener too!

And finally, random thought #4 - This Friday will mark the 8th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks.  I hope everyone will take the time to remember, reflect, pray to your higher power, and never, ever forget.  This country is still a target and we must never let our guard down.


Saturday, August 22, 2009

Let the 'official' madness begin!

Now that "regular school" (as we like to call it here!) is back in session so are all the other activities that CG participates in - gymnastics, cub scouts, and a new addition this year CORE Possibilities.  CORE is not new to us, when CG attended private school he attended after school lessons with them.  They were extremely helpful in making him more focused and attentive during school.  Fingers crossed that we will have the same results.  So starting next week our schedule will get a little more crazy - but in a good way!

We are beginning to get our rhythm down and seem to be doing fine so far.  If you are a regular follower of my blog you know that last year I had tremendous issues trying to figure out how to implement a year round school plan.  Well, I finally figured one out and both CG and I could agree on.  We work 15 days a month from July through June and then we start again.  This gives us more "down" time during the year and has so far been far less stressful for me.  Last year I was well known in my very small and exclusive circle of friends as being a Saturday and Sunday homeschooler if we missed ANY days during the week.  Now I know as long as we get those 15 in I don't have to freak out about the other things that need to be done (grocery shopping) or come up unexpectedly ("since you're not doing anything could you run to wherever and get whatever for Cub Scouts?").  Does he get the other days completely off?  Well, that's up to him.  He can't play video games unless he reads a chapter in his book.  That's every day; yes, even Saturday and Sunday.  So if he doesn't want to play any video games then yes, he's completely off.  And honestly, aren't we always teaching our kids something?

We are still using the Hands of a Child project packs this year. We started weather and got sidetracked, but we are back on it now and hope to finish it by Wednesdayish (yes, that is a real day - at least it is in said small, exclusive group of friends!).  Then we are going to do a brief study about 9/11 with the intent to finish it up on Patriot Day.  Then, well, I quite haven't decided -maybe Ocean Habitats with a trip to the beach?  Or Animal Classification with a trip to the zoo?  Both?  Tough decisions to be made here!  

Overall though, we seem to be doing well.  Do I still have days when I want to march him down to the Catholic School and sign him up?  Of course I do!  But we are getting better about working together and being together 24/7.  We are starting to do more projects, I'm letting the 'rabbit trails' take over a little more often, we are enjoying ourselves, and he is learning.  And that is really what it's all about.


Thursday, August 13, 2009

Obama's Health Care Plan

Admittedly, I don't know that much about the health care bill that Obama is trying to get passed.  I've tried to learn, but everything I find is either all good or all bad.  Somewhere there has got to be something written by non-partisan source that explains it all, good, bad, or ugly.  If anyone knows where that might be please feel free to leave a comment with a link, I will be eternally grateful!

Now for what I DO know about government run health care.  I have a pretty good sense of it, since I was raised in the military, spent 20 years in the military, and continue to stand by my man as he finishes his military career.  I have just one word to say about military health care - HORRIBLE.  Don't forget, military health care is Government Health Care.

Some personal examples - double pneumonia diagnosed as a "cold", an almost 1 year old child almost dying of dehydration because her parents kept getting told she had the infamous "cold" and nothing could be done about her fever and vomiting.  How about this one - "we can't let you take your son to the emergency room because his fever is only 101."  These incidents all happened to either myself or people I know.  The first two were the handiwork of "military doctors" and the last the handiwork of the "military healthcare system."  

Now, just in case you think my opinion is completely jaded by all the incompetence I've witnessed my whole life take a look at this story.  How does a gallbladder surgery turn into this?  I know one thing for sure - we will never know the truth and no one will ever pay for ruining this young man's life.  Government healthcare at its finest.

Is it true that this bill will allow the government to access your bank accounts?  Will everyone have to pay the same premium regardless of age and health?  Will people in the country illegally be able to receive health care even though they pay no premiums?  Just a few questions and I'm searching for the answers.  If anyone has them please share.

Monday, July 27, 2009

I have decided....

summer is not the best time for blogging!  Not that I haven't thought about it but I quite never got around to it.

Having said that let me see if I can run through the updates without boring everyone to death!

CG enjoyed Cub Scout Day Camp.  He even asked to go back next year - something he rarely does.  I never did go to the HS Convention.  I really wanted to but you had to pay just to shop!  Ugh.

My nephew is gone.  He ended up staying until the beginning of July.  Having a 16 year old hanging around the house was a big eye opener - at least I know what I have to look forward to as CG gets older.

We did FINALLY finish second grade.  YAY!!  We also got his CAT test scores back.  He did well with the exception of Social Studies and Spelling.  No big surprise on either of those.  Overall though I was very happy and hubby was very happy.  We are in the good for homeschooling again this year!

We started 3rd grade at the beginning of this month.  Well, we attempted to start I should say!  As of today we actually have 5 days completed!  It's a small step ahead from last year at least.  We haven't done much for a very good reason.  Drumroll Please....

My house is CLEAN!  Ok, I know "what's the big deal?" Well as any of my dear friends know - even when my house was clean it really wasn't.  We are clutter collectors, anything flat becomes a horizontal storage area, dust is a protective coating, and on and on.  Well no more!  It took about a month but my dear friend Nicole gave up her valuable time to help me declutter and reorganize.  It is so awesome having a house where people can just drop by and I don't have to feel embarrassed.  What a great feeling!  So I will tell Nicole once again - thank you.

OK - I guess I failed at keeping it short!  That's it... for now!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

It's June?

I can tell by my calendar that it is indeed June - however since we are still plugging away at school it seems like it shouldn't be.  What can you do?  We just keep plugging away and we will finally finish in 5 days! 

We spent this week doing end of year CAT testing.  I ordered my test from Family Learning Organization out of Mead, WA.  I chose them this year over the Seton testing because they offer science and social studies too.  Well, those two tests could have gone better; but I think overall it went well (except for the dreaded subtraction section that CG couldn't finish in the allotted time!).  Next year I may go through my accountability group and have him take the Iowa test.  We will have to see.

I don't know WHY I end of year test.  Well, I do know why - hubby requires it.  But since I don't teach CA (or any other state for that matter) curriculum it seems a little unfair to CG.  It was especially unfair this year since we had so many issues with subtraction we didn't finish all the 2nd grade math, so he saw questions about things he never learned.  

The homeschool convention is going to be here on the 19th and 20th.  I'm so excited.  Although I'm not going to any of the workshops (I've heard I should, but have decided not to), I finally get to see a bunch of curriculum in one place at one time!  How awesome is that?  Of course, since I'm the curriculum junky it could be very dangerous!

CG had his Cub Scout Blue and Gold last Saturday.  It was fun.  He earned his wolf rank, some belt loops, and arrow points.  Now everything we do is going to go towards his Bear rank.  I think I'm more excited than he is!  I'm just so proud.  We worked hard to get those requirements and electives done.  He is signed up for Cub Scout Day Camp (he's not old enough for overnighters yet) at the end of June.  They do so much there towards their advancements.  I hope he enjoys it - he didn't go last year because we were in MI on vacation during camp time.

There you have it - a small, brief, update on all the doings and such around here.  

Monday, May 25, 2009

An enjoyable month

I must say this month has been pretty darn enjoyable.  We had our family vacation trip to DisneyWorld, which rocked of course.  My dad and nephew came down from MI to visit.  My nephew actually lives in MO, but he decided to stay with us for a month or so.  We enjoy having him around.

I believe we still have about 17 days left of school.  Yeah, are we ever going to finish?  It sometimes seems like we won't but I know we will.  We have to.  And of course there are the ever present niggling thoughts that maybe I haven't chosen the right curriculum path for next year.  I've decided I just have to let it go - I will make myself nuts if I don't.  We haven't completely finished our Memorial Day unit study, but we will finish the last couple days starting tomorrow then we are going to finish our Reduce, Reuse, Recycle project pack.  I'm testing CG the first week of June, so we can carry that into the testing days.  There is light at the end of the tunnel!  I've been putting together quite a few of the Take it to Your Seat centers from Evan-Moor.  I haven't quite decided how we are going to put them to use during the next school year, but I will figure something out.  I also need to decide how I'm going to utilize the "Complete Book of..." next year.  I bought American History, Science, and Map Skills/Geography.  Maybe work through a chapter in history and science, with the map skills thrown in randomly.  Once we actually finish this year I can sit down and sort all that out.

Everyone should take the time today to remember the men and women who have given their lives for our country.  We studied Nathan Hale last week.  How awesome was he?

Have a great week!

Monday, May 4, 2009

A month? Really....

Well, it has been a long time. April was a very busy month here in the crazy south. We welcomed a new niece to our family - AP was born April 15th. She's an awesome bundle of joy. CG is thrilled to have a baby around. I'm thrilled to be living close enough to actually be a part of her life.

School is going well. I'm not sure what day we're on, but I think we have about 20 days left. The past few weeks we've been working on a new Hands of a Child Project Pack - Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. We started a compost jar project, and have been discussing ways to help the earth and be good stewards to what God has given us. It's been really fun. We will be finishing it up this week. I'm planning on doing an Amanda Bennett unit study on Memorial Day later this month. That will be a lot more writing than what CG is used to, but I still think it will be loads of fun. I hope he enjoys it as much as I think he will.

Next week is our mid spring vacation. We took a week when AP was born, but this time we are going on vacation - just our family.

Our cub scout pack went on it's first overnight camping trip last weekend. It was really a good time. Now that the boys are getting older it's way more fun hanging out with the boys! Of course, eventually it will be CG and Grease Monkey, I will be out in the cold, but that's OK. Those will be my weekends! The one good thing that happened is we rediscovered our love of camping so we will be instituting a one weekend a month camp out as a family. Of course, we won't start that until the end of July. Just need to find a place in the mountains that will be relatively cool! We have kicked around getting a trailer (I'm partial to a pop-up!) but for now we will be sticking with our tent and just having a lot of fun.

I've set the school schedule for next year. I'm going to attempt the 5 weeks on/1 week off schedule. If we stick with it we will finish super early, but that will also allow us to take time off when we need/want to also. If we finish early, I will just give CG some extra time off and start him in the next grade.

Well, that's a wrap from beautiful SC.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

A busy week ~ kinda...


We had a lot of fun this week.  CG learned a lot about volcanoes.  He even remembered what and where the Ring of Fire was!  With no prompting from me.  I was so proud!  I think we may have found our niche in homeschooling.  He even had a great time putting the lapbook together.  Our volcano erupted pretty nicely too!  

We were not going to do school next week - following our four weeks on - one week off routine; but GM can't get the time off work until the week after.  So we are doing five with one week off then three with one week off.  Not quite enough to start a complete four week unit study - but I think I can find another lapbook to work on for a couple weeks.  Next week we will be using the Evan-Moor Ancient Civilizations History Pocket for Ancient Rome.  It is a quick look at Ancient Rome - perfect for the one week I need to squeeze it into!

Today was our scout pinewood derby.  CG came in 5th - but he always has so much fun.  Of course, if he would quit messing with the wheels on his car he would probably do much better!  Oh well, it is what it is...

I learned a very valuable lesson the past couple weeks about lapbooking - you can count things across other areas.  O.K. that probably didn't make much sense; let me see if I can clarify.  We worked on the volcano unit for two weeks.  The first week I made him do separate language arts and only counted the lapbook for science.  The second week I figured out that the writing he was doing for the lapbook is language arts; mapping volcanic eruptions and the Ring of Fire is geography.  It really "sets" information in his mind instead of clumping more on top of the lapbook items.  I'm sure it's the same with notebooking too.  That will make it easier for me to plan out a schedule.

Alrighty - enough about all the blah blah blah going on around here.  Have a great week!


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Has it really been so long?

Obviously the answer to that is 'yes'.  Sadly, I've been meaning to get on here for a while, but just seem to run out of time.

So much has been going on; but before I continue with the everyday things (that seem oh so important ~ because they are!) I must say something about my mom.

My mom's birthday was March 21.  She would have been 63 if she was still with us.  I still miss her dearly, but have learned to block some of the bad days.  Her birthday is one of them.  So, I changed my background to bees in honor of my mom.  She loved bees - not the real kind, but she amassed a collection of bee stuff, some of which graces my desk and holds my pens.  I don't think she chose to collect bee items, I think it happened because she was known as "Mrs. B" to my friends, and "Gramma B" to the kids at the school she worked at (shout out to St. Therese in Lansing!).  Over the years they bought her bee themed gifts and as we all know, small groups of things become large groups of things over time.  So, there's the reason for the bee background.  I wish I could put into words something appropriate and wonderful to say about my mom.  But I can't right now.  Not that she wasn't wonderful and I have lots of awesome stories about her, but I'm not ready to share.  If I share then they are not 'our' stories any more.  I know it's selfish, but I'm not ready to share her with the world quite yet.

OK, now on to the normal things going on.  We have finished 140 days of 2nd grade.  That leaves us 40 to go, which should be six weeks.  Um, yeah, somehow I don't think we will finish in the next six weeks.  Right now we are getting to the point where we are having trouble getting through five days a week.  It must be the end of year blah's or something.  

We have been working on a lapbook project this week.  It's from Hands of a Child, and it's all about volcanoes.  We tried one early in the year, but CG just wasn't too interested.  He seems better now, so I'm planning on throwing some more in next year, just to see where it leads us.  Anyhoo - it's not in the project pack, but next week we are going to make a volcano and erupt it.  It's something I never got to do in school, and CG is thrilled with the idea.

I have purchased all our third grade curriculum and sadly, there is no Sonlight in there.  I so wanted him to be a Sonlight kid.  I love books, I want him to love books, but he doesn't.  Sadly, he likes workbooks.  BORING!  So, for next year we are going to work out of workbooks, throw in some unit studies with lapbooking and notebooking, and read books off the 3rd grade reading list I found online.  It's going to make my life way more difficult, because I will actually have to figure out the plan for the year.  I loved the way Sonlight laid everything out for you - even if their exact schedule didn't work, it could be easily modified.  If he is still totally into workbooks come 4th grade I'll probably look into AOP or something.

Oh yeah, so I've bought writing and spelling from Evan-Moor, MCP Math (Book C), and the Complete Book of American History, Science, and Maps/Geography from American Education Publishing.  We are going to do the unit studies and stuff around the AEP books.  I'm not changing anything since this is what he asked for, he'll have to stick it out for the entire year.  Ta-Da!  There's the plan for third grade. I think I'm going to order his CAT test next week and test him the last week of April.  I was going to wait until June, but I would rather get it done before our May vacation.  I know he will do a brain dump on me when we take time off!

There it is, in all it's glory ~ the long awaited update!  We are finally getting some much needed rain.  I hate to complain because we need it so bad, but after two or three days it's just so blah....

Oh and the Grease Monkey and I celebrated our 13th anniversary on March 23rd!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Ta-Da!

So, here is the cake I made for CG's birthday party. Not bad for a 1st attempt!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Birthday Party, Cub Scouts, & Curriculum Stress

Saturday is CG's birthday party.  We are having a WALL E theme and I am going to bake and decorate his cake myself this year.  Well, try to decorate it at least!  I'm actually baking a cake from scratch!  Oh my goodness....

And yes, for the record, his actual birthday was last month, but when you procrastinate (which is my way) you kind of have to take what you can get!  Thankfully he doesn't care too much.

With the whole birthday party thing I've discovered another reason I love homeschooling so much - you get to invite only the people you really like!  THAT my friends is awesome!  A handpicked group of friends makes the party that much nicer.  CG and I sat down and made a list of the kids he really wanted to have there and surprisingly the group is quite varied.  Kids from ages 3 to 11 were on his list.  Very cool.

Last Saturday was his pack's Blue and Gold Banquet.  I ended up making cupcakes.  Yes, from scratch.  It was the recipe I wanted to make for CG's birthday party and I decided I'd rather guinea pig a big group of people I barely know instead of the small group of people I know really well!  They were the first desert to disappear!  So, the recipe is solid - it's just the decorating part that may end up being lame.

I'm totally stressed about not finishing our Core by the end of the school year.  I'm not sure why....

I'm trying not to let it bother me.  Really, really trying.  I know until he gets to high school (when you have to start keeping transcripts and credits) starting cores a little off is no big deal.  Honestly, I know that.  But I still can't help thinking that somehow I should try and make it right.  It makes me so annoyed with myself.  I've even tried to sit down and figure out how many weeks we will have left in Core 1 when we finish our 180 days and how far off that will put us into 3rd grade and blah blah blah.  Seriously, I think I need help.

Then there's math...

We have been through a plethora of math curricula this year.  OK - perhaps not a plethora but I LOVE that word and don't get to use it all that much!  Here's how our math year went...
MCP B (not complete) - he hated it
Saxon 1 & 2 (not complete) - he was ok with this, but the spiral was so s l o w
Singapore 1A & 1B (not complete) - this was a decent program, but he never quite got the hang of 'number bonds' rather than 'number families'
We are back to using MCP B - and this time he likes it.  I have cut down a lot of problems per page and that may be helping.  But I also think it's because he's doing stuff he knows, so he doesn't have to work too hard at it.  I gave him the chapter check ups and kept moving forward until we got to something he had problems with or hadn't learned yet, and when we reached that point I started having him do the whole chapter.  Long story to say - what curricula do I use next year?  I wanted to try Horizons or Teaching Textbooks (if he can test into TT 4).  He's good with MCP now, but how will he be when he's struggling and learning new things again?  Oh the quandary of it all....   One thing I do know - whichever I pick is the only program we will be using next year.  None of this skipping around and junk.  I need to stop second guessing myself.....


Friday, February 27, 2009

My Heartbreaking Conversation

Yesterday, as I was taking CG to gymnastics, we were having a conversation about the upcoming (April) birth of his newest cousin.  The boy is not lacking for cousins - the newest addition will be number 13, and he even has 3 second cousins!  But what he really wants is a brother or sister.  

It took DH and I seven years (and several miscarriages) before we were blessed with CG.  We always wanted another, but it never happened.  At 36 I started going through "the change" and so, we have CG.  

So, the conversation went something like this:

"Why can't I have a baby brother or sister?"

"Mommy can't have any more babies.  We could maybe adopt a brother or sister for you."

Which led to the conversation about adoption.  With me saying "We could adopt a brother or sister who is maybe four or five."

"I want a baby."

Dang boy, do you realize that I'm the one who would have to get up in the middle of the night and change diapers?  Both CG and DH sleep like rocks - seriously - so no nighttime help would be in my future!  Besides, I think we are too old to adopt babies.  The rules are weird about babies.  Don't get me wrong, I love babies.  I mostly love babies that belong to someone else though, I don't know if I'm up for starting from zero again.  I know that sounds bad....

DH and I have discussed adopting.  A lot.  I would love to have another child in the house.  I would love to have the opportunity to mold and shape another wonderful child into a caring, compassionate adult.  But, where to start?  We've looked at International Adoptions, domestic adoptions, but it's all so confusing.  

So, given the state of my heart after said conversation I decided it's something we really need to "get on".  DH and I aren't getting any younger.  If it takes two or three years DH will be 10 or 11.  I feel compelled to follow this through now.  

Confused, but looking for direction......

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Our Bowling Park Day

Yesterday, we had park day with our homeschool group.  Since it was pouring rain (which we desperately need so I won't complain!) we opted for the indoor bowling 'park day'.  The boy likes to bowl, as long it's not on a team, for competition.  He had a blast and everyone gets a kick out of his unorthodox (but pretty darn accurate!) bowling style.  But I'm not here to bore you to death about the bowling phenom that the boy may or may not become... no, I'm here to bore you about the excessive talker that the boy has become.  Honestly, I really don't know where he gets that - seriously!

He wanted a bottle of water.  I figured "hey, he's 8, I can clearly see the snack bar line, and I'm between there and the only exit", so I gave him a buck, reminded him about waiting patiently for his turn and to use his manners, and off he went.  There were two guys in front of him, both in uniform.  Trying not to be overly watchful (at least that he knew of!) I notice he's no longer standing there quietly.  No, he's chatting up the guy in front of him.  Just yap yap yapping away.  I'm too far away to hear what's being said - but his hands are in full motion, so I know it must be something a) really exciting, b) about a video game or c) both a and b.  All I can think is "all this poor guy wanted was lunch".

Finally, he gets his bottle of water, pockets the change (now I know who he gets that from!) and comes back over to finish bowling.  Of course, being the curious mom I am "What were you talking about?"  The boy says - completely serious - "oh, just bowling and stuff."  I'm thinking 'Dude, you just carried on a five minute conversation with this guy and all you're going to give me is "bowling and stuff?" SERIOUSLY??!!

When I went to pick up my food, I passed said guy's table and stopped to say "I apologize for my son talking your ear off."  What does guy say "No problem, he's the most articulate, intelligent child I've talked to - ever."  

Needless to say - I left the bowling alley feeling very proud.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Today...

Today the boy turned 8.  I find it hard to believe eight years have passed so quickly.  So tell me, why am I suddenly being subjected to Bear in the Big Blue House and Blue's Clues DVD's again?  Imagine a huge eye roll here.  I thought we were so past this mess - then he happened on some DVD's I had stashed to take to the Thrift Shop and now he's been watching these silly things all day.  UGH!  Now, don't get me wrong - if not for Bear, Blue, or Dora my son wouldn't know some spanish, and some very educational songs about the solar system, plus how to make magenta and aquamarine - but let's face it - we are not two or three anymore.  UGH again!

We do have our curriculum set for next year - mostly.  I'm still struggling in finding a math program that works for us.  It's the hardest subject I've had to deal with this year and we're only in 2nd grade!  I can't imagine how bad it's going to be when he starts doing algebra (which I barely passed over 20 years ago in high school!)  The problem is you give him a placement test for one program and he's in level 3, another level 2, and yet another will place him at level 4.  WHAT?  Yeah, not so easy to wade through.  Here is what I know - he prefers math on the computer, hates worksheets, and needs stuff repeated a lot (as in days later) to actually "get it".  I'm still hunting for that perfect program; when I finally find it ~ oh my ~ that will be the best day ever!  

I have also worked out the whole school schedule for next year.  We are going to do 4 weeks on/1 week off.  We are also going to start very early in July - I'm trying to get him on track to start Core 3 in 4th grade.  It also works out to 195 days by the end of June - too many - but then I know we can work a couple of vacations in there and still be on track.  Yes, we are clearly on a complete 'year round' schedule now!  Of course, this has not been cleared through the Grease Monkey yet, but he's pretty good about letting me run the days as I see fit.

And now my friends I must sign off - I must find some way to get the "Welcome to the Big Blue House" song out of my head!

Saturday, February 7, 2009

In honor of CG

My dearest baby boy - who isn't really a baby anymore - is turning 8 this month.  Time really does zoom along much too quickly.

CG was born on Daytona Weekend (yes, a typical southern reference!) or President's Day Weekend to the rest of the country.  He was our definite "miracle child".  After 4 miscarriages and almost 7 years of trying we finally had our bundle of joy.  As much as we wanted another, that was not destined to be - so of course he's pretty much my life!

The time has moved quickly - too quickly.  Now he's in 2nd grade and it feels like I just brought him home.  He's doing so much on his own, which is of course what all parents want, but it still makes me feel a little sad.  

Of course, 8 is not 18 - but honestly, when I see how quickly the time has gone by, I know that the next 10 years will probably zoom and then he will be gone.  Trying to raise him to be a productive, caring, well balanced person.  Will he turn out to be everything I hope he will be?  Only time will tell.  


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Once again...

I woke up this morning and it was snowing!  Please people - this is the SOUTH!  Thankfully it was the tiniest flurries and nothing stuck.  It is still pretty cold out there though.

We had so much fun in Georgia.  I actually went shopping without CG and bought loads of stuff for my new niece!  Only about two more months and she will be here!  And believe me, shopping without the boy is something that I hardly ever get to do.  It was so fun.

I learned today that a guy I was stationed with a long time ago just died.  He was only 39.  It makes you think about all the past times.  I'm not one for living in the past but great memories are awesome!

  
So, we have big plans for home renovations.  Of course everything is going to have to be done one project at a time. The first order of business isn't a renovation at all - my dear husband (ok, I'll call him the Grease Monkey (GM) - sticking with the monkey theme!)is going to turn one of our spare bedrooms into a classroom for me!  Well, for CG too, but it will be nice to have everything in one place!  We've ordered some bookshelves and furniture.  It's going to be awesome.  We have a list of things we want done - in order that is most important.  Since we are not planning on leaving here it doesn't really matter how much time it takes.

My dad is going to try and come down for a couple weeks.  I hope he can make it - it's been so cold in MI and I know he's getting cabin fever.  It will be nice to see him again - the last time I saw him was either August or September.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

New News

This week has been a good week.  CG did very well in school.  The new schedule is going extremely well.  He is much more relaxed and so am I.  School is fun again!

Today is my sister's baby shower.  I'm so excited!  I get to have another niece!  The last niece was born over a decade ago so it's going to be so great to have a new baby in the family!  We also finally live close enough that we can enjoy the baby in person - rather than watch her grow through pictures.  This will be the first time we'll be able to do that - with any of our nieces and nephews!

So, Monday was an excellent day.  Hubby finally came home from the desert.  Believe me, those were the longest six months of my life ever!  It was so great to see him again and incredibly awesome to have him home.

Tuesday we had a homeschool group meeting.  The wording has been changed to 'faith based' group instead of 'Christian'.  I think I'm good with that for now.  We will see what happens when a family who doesn't believe tries to join.

Speaking of "non believers"; I cannot get over how much ruckus the use of these words by the President caused.  Once again I feel the need to point out that our country was founded by people who wanted religious freedom.  This also means the freedom to choose no religion.  We must all remember that Barak Obama was elected by a majority vote to lead this great country of ours; that means all people and he was not wrong in including everyone in his speech.  Deal and press on.  

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Of Christians and Homeschooling

As many of you may know, several months ago I had issues with my support group wanting everyone to sign a statement of faith.  Now, don't get me wrong, I'm a Christian.  It was more of a principle thing - a group for military homeschoolers, that meets on base, shouldn't have a religious requirement.  One of the reasons I enjoy homeschooling so much is showing CG that there are other views and allowing him to decide for himself.

I've noticed in the Christian Homeschooling realm that there are two distinct beliefs about Creation.  The first is Young Earth (YE); from what I can understand (and please correct me if I'm wrong) this is the belief that God created the earth in 6 days (six 24 hour periods).  This is basically the literal interpretation of the Bible.  The second set (now just Christians, of course) is Old Earth (OE).  This is the belief (as I understand it - again correct me if I'm wrong) that while God did indeed create the earth we don't know how long six days was all those years ago -one day could equal 500 years or whatever.  After all, who decided there were supposed to be 24 hours in a day?  Now include the theory of evolution and you can see - there are a lot of different views to teach.  

While I stand firmly in the OE realm, I have no issues with people who believe otherwise.  That is their choice and after all, we live in America - which was founded on religious freedom.  However, there are Christian Homeschooling Organizations who feel that we, as Christians, homeschoolers, and Americans are not able to discern what is right or wrong, and what we should teach our children. One such group is in Colorado.  In an effort to not confuse the name or anything else incredibly important, here is a link to a blog about what they have done/are doing.

As many of you know, I do use Sonlight and I find it incredibly Christian.  So, for someone to decide it's 'not Christian enough' makes my blood boil (kind of like the military homeschool support group).  Once again, IMHO, it kind of spits in face of what "Christians" are supposed to be.  

I fear, that many of the same labels for other religious groups are going to end up getting placed on Christians as a whole.  All Muslims are not terrorists and I don't want non Christians to think that all Christians are intolerant of other peoples beliefs.

I have friends and relatives who fall into all faith and lifestyle groups.  I love all of them and respect their decisions and beliefs - after all, isn't that what being a true Christian is all about?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

What a Surprise!


When I woke up this morning and saw this!  This is our neighborhood.





And this is my backyard.  Now I realize that this is really no snow at all (and it's gone now too!) but I was shocked - especially living in South Carolina!

CG was happy.  After our non trip to MI he was really bummed that he wouldn't get to see snow, so this little bit helped a lot!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

What a week!

But I mean that in a good way - seriously.  OK, well except for the master bath not having any water this morning!  Everything else went very good.

We started a new schedule at school.  It is working very well.  We are ahead now in a lot of things and right on with a couple others.  I'm good with that though.  CG likes the new schedule a lot better and I feel like we are accomplishing more every day.  I don't know that we are - but it feels right to spend 30 minutes on a subject instead of just reading a couple pages and moving on.  Barring any weirdness it will be the schedule we keep for the rest of the year.

It got so cold here last night (hence the no water in the master - frozen pipes I think).  Now when we lived in Spokane I can remember 20 degree days and thinking "oh it's warmer today than it was yesterday" however, now that I live in SC I'm definitely NOT used to that anymore.  We have been doing as little outside as possible the past couple days.

Check out my other blog (homeschool journal - link on the right).  I've taken the time every day to write what we do.  I guess because I'm anal about having enough documentation should the need ever arise.  I already have it hand written, but hey, I figure better safe than sorry.

I'm going to have CG watch the Inauguration on Tuesday.  Probably not the whole thing; just the swearing in part.  After all that's the most important part.  I don't know if he'll remember later or not, but I don't want to miss the opportunity.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Homeschool updates

Are now going to be here - homeschool journal.  

I'm going to try and update daily with the assignments we've done.  It's just another way for me to keep track of stuff in case the state asks!

We started a new "loop" or "block" schedule today and it worked wonderfully.  I don't feel quite so freaked out (at least today!).  As we continue this schedule the rest of the week (and year) we will see how it works out in the end.

Luke and Judy - thanks for your wonderful and supportive comments.  A serious blessing right when I needed it!


Saturday, January 10, 2009

When to quit?

Oh holy crap.  I've been so stressed out lately.  Seriously - I honestly don't know how much more I can take.  I love my son dearly.  I want to do what's best for him.  But I don't know how well homeschooling is working out.  I'm so tired all the time.  I'm basically a yelling fool most of the time - sometimes over big things (not listening is huge on our list right now!), but usually over small things.  I thought the break over Christmas would help calm me down, but I don't think it has.  Do I think I'm giving him a good education?  Yes.  I guess when he takes his test at the end of the year we will know for sure though.  So, I've been thisclose to putting him back in "regular" school - but the same problem still exists...I have no faith in the public school system here and private school is (financially) out of the question.  Then, today we were at Walmart and this older lady asks where he goes to school.  He says (proudly, as usual) I'm homeschooled.  She just got this look on her face like he said we worshipped satan or something.  Anyway then she says "ooo I hope that works out for you.".  See, it's people like that who make me want to go on.  I know we can do it.  I'm hoping it's just something that all homeschoolers go through at some point (especially the first year).  Whew!  I feel better now.  

So, have any of you heard about this new lead law?  Honestly, I hadn't until I read about it on a forum group that I belong to.  It's very confusing to me - but one of my fellow forum members has graciously allowed me to link her blog post on the subject.  It's well worth the read.  At the end is a well thought out letter you can send to your representative.  I would check it though - you may have to tweak it to fit your family.  I could say more but seriously - just click the link and see for yourself.  Thoughts on new lead law.  Honestly, in today's economy I don't see how people will survive with this in place.  Take the time to send the letter.  Seriously.

Can anyone tell me how to put a garage sale together?  We have so much stuff we need to get rid of I thought it would be a good way to try and get some of it out of here and then we can donate what's left to the Airmen's Attic or Goodwill (if we are allowed to that anymore!).  Seems like it shouldn't be hard but I guess I'm not sure about prices and stuff.  Feedback would be greatly appreciated!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Happy New Year!

A day late, of course, but really - when am I ever on time for something anymore?  

Wow!  This year holds so much promise and fear.  Soon we will have a new president.  Can he turn things around?  What is going to happen with the economy?  So many questions rolling around in my head; we'll just have to see how everything plays out.

We have been doing a little bit of school this week.  So far just two days; but I want to do two more.  Like I said before we are getting so far behind with Sonlight I just don't know how we are going to catch back up.  My ultimate goal is to have him in Core 3 for 4th grade - but I don't know if that can or will happen anymore.  I'm going to try but who knows?  Sometimes I plan it out so much it makes my brain hurt, then it doesn't work out the way I planned and I think "oh, what a waste of time" so I'm trying to just set one long term goal (Core 3 for 4th) and work it so I can make it happen.

Christmas was wonderful.  Like most Americans (probably), it was a little leaner than other years, but for the most part CG got what he wanted and was happy with the whole thing.  Since his birthday comes around so soon after Christmas it's easy to catch the stuff we missed or couldn't get then.  I think this year we are going to buy him a trampoline.  He's been asking for one and I think it would be awesome to tell him "just go jump out your energy"!  As always, I miss my mom the most on Christmas - it was her favorite holiday.

And - I guess that's it for today.  Maybe.  Right now it's all I can think of so peace!